Revisiting a Classic

Essential Bluegrass: Bluegrass Legends (Pinecastle)

Various Artists

By Bob Mitchell

Bluegrass Legends, is the first in a series of compilations of earlier releases from the Pinecastle catalog. Originally titled Larry Perkins and Friends: A Touch of The Past, the project was selected as the 1993 IBMA Recorded Event of The Year and it sounds as good today as it sounded thirteen years ago. At the time of the recording, Perkins was a respected studio musician in Nashville. A wide array of recognized artists appeared because of their friendship and respect for Perkins as an outstanding banjo player.

This is a don't-miss release and the beginning of a fantastic series. Throughout the project, Perkins' banjo skills pleasantly penetrate the essence of bluegrass music. There are numerous outstanding musical and historical highlights. Some of my favorite selections include a rare duet with Bobby Osborne and Allison Krauss on "The Storms are on the Ocean," another compelling collaboration with Terry Eldridge and Andrea Zonn on "Wait Till The Clouds Roll By, " a pedal-to-the-metal instrumental with Benny Martin's fiddle and Gene Wooten's Dobro ("Big Tiger Roars Again), Del McCoury's poignant "No One To Welcome Me Home," and a spectacular arrangement of "Foggy Mountain Top," featuring Earl Scruggs, Sonny Osborne and John Hartford.

It does not get much better than this. This reviewer agrees with a press kit that says, "Bluegrass Legends delivers some of the best names Bluegrass has to offer." Indeed it does. Also guesting on this project are Vassar Clements, Roy Huskey Jr., Leroy Troy, Mac Wiseman, Ron McCoury, Glen Duncan, David Greer and Mike Bub.

For more information, check out www.pinecastle.com